The great dis­con­nect be­tween movie re­al­ity and real life

Case in point: A Star is Born of­fers no in­di­ca­tion of how real world would re­act to cou­ple

StarMetro Halifax - - DAILY LIFE - Peter How­ell MOVIE CRITIC

One of the clever­est movie commentaries I’ve seen in re­cent weeks is a photo es­say by Vul­ture spec­u­lat­ing how the star-crossed ro­mance of A Star is Born would have been cov­ered by the me­dia in real life.

The film’s fic­tional tale, now in its fourth Hol­ly­wood telling, has no short­age of news­wor­thy in­ci­dents re­gard­ing the love match of su­per­star coun­try rocker Jack­son Maine (Bradley Cooper, who also di­rects) and un­known aspir­ing singer Ally Cam­pana (Lady Gaga). Jack­son is se­ri­ously ad­dicted, de­pressed and on the way down; Ally is squeaky clean, mo­ti­vated and on the way up.

A Star is Born ex­ists in a bub­ble where we don’t get much of an in­di­ca­tion of how the gos­sipy world at large is re­act­ing to this bold-faced pair and their pub­lic in­ci­dents both beau­ti­ful A Star is Born doesn’t show us how me­dia would cover coun­try rocker Jack­son Maine (Bradley Cooper) and aspir­ing singer Ally Cam­pana (Lady Gaga).

and tragic. Vul­ture goes full what-if on it, us­ing faked cov­er­age in ev­ery­thing from Us Weekly to to the New York Times, to con­vinc­ingly show how it would all play out in the press if this story was re­ally hap­pen­ing.

Suf­fice to say that it would be a far more scan­dalous sit­u­a­tion than what we see on the

rel­a­tively san­i­tized big screen of A Star is Born. (I love Vul­ture’s fake New York Post head­line of a drunken Jack­son piss­ing him­self at the Grammy Awards: “Urine Trou­ble, Mis­ter!”)

This got me think­ing about other dis­con­nects be­tween the movies and real life. One of the strange things about get­ting Ryan Gosling’s gruffly mono­syl­labic por­trayal of Neil Arm­strong in First Man im­plies that his daugh­ter’s death had turned him into a ro­botic in­di­vid­ual.

older is that events and sto­ries you ac­tu­ally lived through be­gin to show up at your lo­cal mul­ti­plex or art­house in cin­e­matic form, of­ten with facts and per­spec­tives that dif­fer from your own.

A case in point is Bo­hemian Rhap­sody, this week’s big opener. Bryan Singer’s biopic of rock band Queen and its lead

singer Fred­die Mer­cury plays fast and loose with many facts, es­pe­cially those to do with Mer­cury’s bi­sex­u­al­ity. It im­plies that he kept the se­cret of his sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion so well, he didn’t come out to his own fam­ily un­til the morn­ing of the band’s leg­endary per­for­mance at Live Aid in 1985 — which also wasn’t a re­union show, con­trary to the film’s dra­matic as­ser­tion.

Damien Chazelle’s First Man is an­other cur­rent movie that makes me won­der if the real story was as much of a cover-up as the screen­play im­plies.

We’re led to be­lieve that the brain-tu­mor death of Neil Arm­strong’s 2-year-old daugh­ter Karen in 1962 had an out­sized im­pact on his per­son­al­ity, turn­ing him into a ro­botic in­di­vid­ual who pur­sued the moon mis­sion of Apollo 11 to the detri­ment of fam­ily har­mony.

Karen’s tragic demise was re­ported in many news­pa­per and mag­a­zine fea­tures about Arm­strong in 1969, and I read as many of them as I could get my grubby teenaged hands on. None of them im­plied that grief had turned him as gruffly mono­syl­labic as Ryan Gosling plays him.

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